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UCSF Diabetes Center Forms Precision Medicine Initiative with Prevention Program, Yes Health

Researchers to Gain Real-Time Data Access to Develop Personalized Type 2 Diabetes Prevention and Treatment Strategies

By Nicholas Weiler

This month, the Diabetes Center at UCSF announced that it has embarked on a precision medicine initiative with Yes Health, an all-mobile program to prevent type 2 diabetes. As part of the initiative, Yes Health will develop opt-in tools that provide its users the opportunity to share important de-identified behavioral data, such as diet, exercise, and sleep patterns, with UC San Francisco researchers focused on both type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.

According to the American Diabetes Association, 86 million Americans (more than one-in-three) are identified as having prediabetes, yet 90 percent are unaware of their condition. People with prediabetes have higher than normal blood glucose levels, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Without intervention, 70 percent of people with prediabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes during their lifetime. These statistics drove Yes Health to act.

“We started Yes Health with a vision to address a rapidly growing – and often silent – epidemic, type 2 diabetes,” said Alex Petrov, founder and CEO of Yes Health.  “By connecting the data from our mobile type 2 diabetes prevention program with the unparalleled health sciences and patient care network of UCSF, we hope to take a significant step towards developing better prevention and treatment programs and moving toward our ultimate goal: putting an end to the disease.”  

The Diabetes Center at UCSF, realizing the ominous nature of the prediabetes epidemic, has made tackling this condition a point of emphasis. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes is partly conferred by biological and genetic factors, but is also heavily influenced by behavioral and environmental factors. The Diabetes Center’s goal will be to decipher the individual and integrated contributions of these myriad risk factors using data.

“By working with Yes Health, we will be able to collect and analyze large amounts of behavioral data from people with prediabetes,” said Matthias Hebrok, PhD, director of the Diabetes Center at UCSF.  “In addition to providing us with rich insights regarding how behavioral and environmental factors impact those with prediabetes, these data can be coupled with cellular, genetic, and other biological data to create an unparalleled resource for scientific discovery. Additionally, this alliance will ultimately facilitate our ability to identify cohorts that can participate in clinical trials focused on the relationship between behavioral and biological aspects of diabetes risk, helping us develop highly individualized prevention and treatment programs.”

UCSF’s precision medicine program is focused on collecting, connecting and applying vast amounts of scientific research data and information about our health, to better understand why certain individuals respond differently to treatments and facilitate the development of more precise and predictive medicine.

This is the first in a series of planned collaborations between the Diabetes Center at UCSF and Yes Health, which in addition to the precision medicine initiative, will also include the development of a broad array of educational and support services aimed at type 2 diabetes prevention.  

About The Diabetes Center at UCSF

The Diabetes Center at UCSF is a one-stop, central resource for your diabetes needs. Scientists at UCSF have made many of the breakthrough discoveries in diabetes, including the cloning of the human insulin gene, which made possible the unlimited supply of synthetic insulin that now is used to manage the disease in many patients. UCSF formed a comprehensive Diabetes Center in 2000, uniting physicians, researchers, and educators as an integrated team focused on improving the quality of life for those living with diabetes. Since that time, we’ve accelerated our research efforts to help generate new treatments and cures for this disease.

For more information, visit http://diabetes.ucsf.edu.

About Yes Health

Yes Health is the first all-mobile diabetes prevention program designed to empower people everywhere to start living healthier, happier lives. Our team of physicians, health coaches and engineers has created a high-engagement, lifestyle-change platform that’s low-cost, easy to follow and successful in preventing the onset of diabetes. People already living with the disease can also use it to successfully manage their symptoms. Yes Health helps people take charge of their health—and have fun doing it—by developing healthy habits that last a lifetime.